The career of Sniper’s Bullet is likely to be wound down at the end of 2011 but trainer Tracey Bartley hasn’t given up hope of finding another win before he calls time on the champions career.
His last few events have been handpicked with the veteran gelding to be given every chance of adding to his impressive career resume.
The Emirates Stakes in the springtime could well be his last crack at a big time major with a trip to Perth likely after that.
Sniper’s Bullet is still in work and will have one more run this weekend in the Winter Stakes before having a short break and getting ready again for the Emirates Stakes.
He has an experienced hand helping him out this Saturday as well with Robert Thompson, Australia’s most capped Group 1 jockey taking the reins in the Listed test across 1500m.
He takes the spot of Mathew Cahill who is serving a suspension for careless riding but Bartley isn’t fazed by the loss of a regular jockey for a man who’s yet to even sit on the horse.
“I haven’t spoken to him yet about the horse but I will endeavour to do that this week,” Bartley said.
“We’ll both be at Grafton so I’ll see him then.
“Robert is an old-fashioned rider and he (Sniper’s Bullet) doesn’t seem to mind that. He’ll ride him well, he’s a great rider and the horse worked really well on Tuesday morning.”
Thompson will need to pull out one of his best this weekend if he’s to get the win, Sniper’s Bullet coming nowhere near the form he showed in his prime.
His winter carnival in Brisbane was poor, never looking like a winning chance in any of his races.
They were hoping for a change of fortunes down in Sydney but that is yet to eventuate either.
Last start they tried a change of tactics by riding him further forward in the Listed Civic Stakes over 1400m, the horse picked up the box seat but couldn’t offer any turn of foot down the straight.
To be fair he was slugged with a hefty 60.5kg, but that’s what you have to expect when a Group 1 winner drops back down to Listed company.
That’s why they are changing their riding tactics, the old boy just doesn’t have the same turn of foot, especially with so much weight on his back.
“The 1500 metres suits him a bit better and we’ll just try and ride him the same sort of way, up on the speed,” Bartley said.
“He just got held up a touch as they straightened last start when he needed to roll into it.
“Hopefully he (Thompson) can just get him out and get rolling on him, he’s not going to go dashing home but he’s going to keep going.”
There’s no reprieve from the handicapper this week either, he’ll have 60kgs, a full 4.5kg more than the next closest horse Altered Boy.
IN fact he’ll give up 7kg to the majority of the field with Bellagio Wynn (54.5kg), Viking Legend (54.5kg) and Gigino (53.5kg) he only horses carrying more than the minimum requirement
Despite this if Sniper’s Bullet is going to do anything other than fill in the numbers at the Emirates Stakes he needs to take care of this field.
He has a big cult following but without some drastic improvement even though couldn’t back him back at Group 1 level in either Melbourne or Perth.
Bartley is currently in Grafton where two of Sniper’s Bullet’s siblings are preparing for their assignments.
“General’s Sniper will run on Thursday and Slick could back up again on Sunday,” Bartley said.
General Sniper was easily mowed down from out in front at his last start while Slick Sniper managed to battle home for second in the South Grafton Cup on Sunday.